Stopping the ‘Spirit of the Synod’ Before it Starts

Those attempting to exploit the Synod on Synodality are beginning to use a tactic employed by post-Vatican II agitators; their methods should be called out and dismissed before they get started.

By most accounts, last week’s European continental assembly was an occasionally tense but overall constructive experience — and a significant setback for those intent on exploiting the ongoing Synod on Synodality as a way to change fundamental Church teaching.

Beginning with a prophetic opening homily from Archbishop Jan Graubner of Prague, and including strong contributions from delegates from Poland, Ireland and elsewhere, a number of participants made it clear that the disruptive vision of synodality that has been promoted by activists, the media and even some clerical figures is not consistent with the sense of the faithful and authentic Church teaching.

But don’t tell that to those agitating for lay governance, the ordination of women, and the blessing of same-sex sexual relations. In their view, the Synod on Synodality will either produce the results they desire — or it isn’t the real synod.

Take, as a prime example, an essay penned by Julia Knop, a German theologian and backer of the controversial Synodal Way in her homeland. Written during the early stages of the Prague meeting when it was becoming clear how widespread the opposition to German-style synodality actually was, Knop wrote that the continental assembly was not “properly synodal.” Why? Because, consistent with their apostolic mandate, the bishops would judge “in the end” ideas discussed according to the deposit of faith, and because the discussion would focus on synodality, not “reform impulses,” aka, changes to Church doctrine and discipline.

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